Friday, January 27, 2012

The greeks like their oranges

 On our trip to Athens last year I took notice of the orange trees planted along public roadways. Not just in a few spots, but all over the city. Oranges were ripe and some were already on the ground. Oftentimes the orange trees were between sidewalk and building front or even sidewalk and road. Kinda cool to have an available snack at the ready any time they're ripe. Though with the minimal exhaust standards, not sure I'd find the oranges as tasty as rural, tropically-grown oranges.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blyth's Song & Bird Gardens

 I've been on a lot of garden tours. More than the average Joe for sure. One of he most comprehensive and subtly fantastic residential gardens I've ever seen is on the KenTon Tour of gardens -- Blyth's Song 'N Bird Gardens in Tonawanda. Yes, it has an official name.

Located in a first-ring suburb, it's more city than suburb, but it's probably one of the larger lots - one half acre, all planted with meandering paths in a cottage garden style.

Vegetable gardens? Check. Cornfield? Check. Outbuildings & sheds? Check. Flower gardens? Check. Ponds? Check. Over-sized model trains? Check. Antique car? Check and mate!

It was a great garden to take in slowly just because there was so much to it. There are shade gardens, sun gardens, an orange and yellow garden, a huchera garden, grass paths, stone paths, gravel paths, and plank paths.

They participate in the KentTon garden tour, the National Garden Festival's Open Gardens, and have been generous enough to open their garden to bus tours. It just proves that graciousness and gardening go together like the three sisters -- corn, beans & squash.

If you get a chance to see this garden this coming year, it is worth the effort. It's located right on Delaware Road, it could not be easier to find.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A True Peace Garden

Back in August we visited Cecilienhof Palace, an English Tudor-style palace in Potsdam, Germany, not far from Berlin. This is where the Potsdam Agreement was negotiated, in July of 1945, and signed by Stalin, Truman & Churchill to end WWII. The Potsdam agreement settled the reconstruction of Germany, defined the borders of the entire Theater of WWII, included Germany's demilitarization, reparations and persecution of war crimes. Had to look some of this this up -- high school world history is so far back in my history at this point.

The conference was held here because Berlin was a shambles. This Palace, as with most palaces and large homes in Potsdam, were not damaged in the war. This palace in particular was sort of abandoned because, when it was built in 1917, the English Tudor style, inspired by English manor homes, was all the rage. You can imagine that, as WWII ramped up, all things English were on the outs and all things Germanic ruled.

It was built by Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany for his son, Crown prince Wilhelm. Compared to other palaces in the area, it's sort of understated.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Umm... anyone seen the hostas?

Seen at the Chelsea flower show. Can't quite imagine having this in my garden. To each his or her own.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A formal garden in an informal world

Next year, if you have the chance, you've gotta' check out the KenTon Garden Tour (a first ring suburb of Buffalo). There are many great gardens on the tour -- including this formally laid out relatively new garden. It's hard to believe they fit this much structure, plant material and charm all in one small urban garden. The young couple living here were very proud of the garden AND the thought they put into it. I was very impressed.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

With anemones like these, who needs friends?

Mid-November these anemone were still going strong. It took them a few years to establish themselves enough to get to this point. Now I have to move them. This is smack-dab exactly where I want to put my new water fountain (details here). Now I not only have to find a new spot, but may have to wait for them to re-establish themselves to get back to this size & loveliness. We're not spending time in the backyard in November, maybe I'll replant them in the front yard so they can be admired appropriately by the public.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Barking up the right River Birch tree

I love my river birch tree. It's planted too close to the house (requiring diligent pruning), it's grown to almost completely shade my vegetable garden (requiring rethinking what vegetables get grown), it is in the way of the hot tub "mechanicals" (requiring contortionist-like skills for any hot tub repairs) and it drops friggin' leaves like it was made from them.

But how can you not like this bark?


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